Dr Holly Hedgeland, Postdoctoral Researcher

Originally from just south of London, I read Natural Sciences at Cambridge as an undergraduate. I stayed on for a PhD based in the Surface Physics group at the Cavendish Laboratory, applying a novel quantum-based helium spin echo instrument to examine how molecules move on surfaces. After finishing my PhD, I held a postdoc and fellowship at Robinson College which allowed me to continue my work, measuring the surface friction of benzene molecules as they diffuse around a graphite surface with the same kind of motion as the pollen grains we watch under a microscope at school. Following a couple of years out as a secondary teacher of maths and physics, I moved to UCL. Here I’m using the atomically-sharp metal tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope to measure the electronic, rather than dynamical, properties of molecules on surfaces. My new Leverhulme Fellowship will allow me to bring the two experimental approaches together to form a complete picture of the molecules’ properties and behaviour.